Eating Vista Sol

Our resort Vista Sol included meals. We were a little skeptical since W is a not an adventure eater. Vista Sol has a couple options for dining. They have a main buffet and a “sports bar” dining option that is basically available most of the day. They also offer three service restaurants. For these you must make a reservation with the dedicated receptionist during her specific office hours. It wasn’t hard to make reservations but since our trip was so short we didn’t have as much flexibility. We only had an opportunity to dine at two of the three options, Mexican and Gourmet (the third was Italian). From what I understood guests are allotted  three reservations per booked room regardless of length of stay.

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The all day buffet option and sports bar were not highlights to the trip but there were options. I found myself next to the waffle machine nearly every morning and anytime is a good time for freshly made hot off the press churros. Personally the Mexican service restaurant was my favorite; there was a nice guacamole with shrimp appetizer and the chicken with the red sauce was delicious. W preferred the Gourmet restaurant with the steak option.

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Have you done an all inclusive resort? Was food a highlight of the trip?

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Punta Cana and Saona Island

I wanted to take a trip for my birthday and W wanted to stamp his passport. So I was on the search for a mini trip. To be honest it was a little challenging to find a trip that both fit into our budget and time constraints. Both W and I are taking classes this summer and work full-time. Neither of us wanted to blow all our vacation days for one trip.

 

Of course I turned directly to Groupon in search for an all inclusive deal because well, I didn’t have time to do much planning and I wanted something easy.  As I looked at what was available we decided the Dominican Republic would be perfect. Allegiant as non-stop from Pittsburgh to Punta Cana and the flight is about 3.5 hours.The Groupon’s had options for hotel transport and most of the hotels were all inclusive.

Beach Getaway, Low Travel Time, All Inclusive, Reasonable Price

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Then we found a great deal on  that was during our selected dates a Thursday-Sunday and not too pricey. I booked it! However, when I called to book my date they said they ran out of rooms for the weekend we wanted to go. OMG! Groupon was great I got a refund but then I was on the hunt again. Turns out the company (Vacation Express) offering the Groupon was able to book us another all inclusive at a different hotel. Don’t you love when things work out?

I had a great time everything was beautiful, the transfers back and forth to the hotel were easy. The staff at the hotel was accommodating and the hosts for Vacation Express based at the hotel were helpful and friendly.  We did two mini excursions while we were there zip-lining and a day trip to Saona Island. There was also parasailing and banana boating on the beach as well. The hotel also offered nightly entertainment and there was a Beach Party BBQ on our last night. I would definitely try booking with Vacation Express again. I’d even give Groupon Getaways  another shot.🙂

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Preparing for Summer!

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I am working on a list of things to get into this summer in Pittsburgh. Last year was my first time experiencing summer in the city but back then in my heyday I really didn’t know what Pittsburgh had to offer. One of the first events I did go to last year was the Three Rivers Art Festival. And this year I made it again. Who is turn down live music? We saw some of the arts vendors then took a rest down by the fountain at the Point.  I’ve been working a lot lately (summer classes and a full-time job) but I promised myself I would make a little more room in my schedule to enjoy the summer.

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I am very glad I did. The weather was perfect at the arts festival,  sunny with a little breeze. I wore my JCrew Ratti Happy Cat dress which I love and W busted out his GoPro to get some test shots before our mini getaway vacation to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (I will post photos soon).

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We managed to squeeze in a trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo  and saw Finding Dori. Which was the by far the cutest movie of the summer. (Can I make that claim? We are only two weeks in!) As far as the rest of the summer I’d like to go to Phipps Conservatory again, maybe a trip to the beach and possibly see an outdoor show. I’m thinking Beethoven, Bach and Brunch at Mellon Park or one of the outdoor concerts  for Chatham’s Summer Series at the Eden Hall Campus.

 

 

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Primanti Bros.

I’ve been in Pittsburgh for months and only recently made the move to try the Almost Famous Sandwiches from the Primanti Bros. (we don’t pronounce that “t”). We went to the Primanti Bros in the Strip District. The atmosphere was very laid back and they served everything on wax paper and foil which I wasn’t expecting but it made it very fuss free.

The Almost Famous Sandwiches comes topped with coleslaw, tomato and fries. I went for the Ragin‘ Cajun Chicken Breast which was well seasoned. The bread was super soft so I was pleased my sandwich didn’t look like someone stuck their finger in it during assembly! (win)  However, I’d pass on the coleslaw it was a bit too sour for my taste. I think spicy kimchi would have been a nice substitute for the slaw. I also ordered a side of fried but I clearly over did it.

I’d go back to the Primanti Bros. but maybe a different location to see if there are different vibes. (I went to three different Pamela’s locations and each one was a little different…my favorite is the Squirrel Hill location)

I’m curious to try the Pitts-Burger and Cheese hold the side of fries…yum burgers.

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Butcher and the Rye

W and I went to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra last week to see the performance of Remixed version of Stravinsky’s ballet The Firebird at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. I haven’t seen the ballet before so I didn’t really know what to expect. The conductor, Steve Hackman, did give an overview of the ballet and what were going to experience. This performance was different however in that there was a vocalist, rapper and hip-hop inspired beats and lyrics overlapping the classical orchestra. For me, I think there was so much happening that I left the show with conflicting emotions and a week later can’t resolve whether or not I actually enjoyed the performance.

Before we went to the performance we of course had to nourish our souls. We planned on going to täkō but the wait was very long. I don’t think we expected that since it was a Wednesday night. So we decided to try Butcher and the Rye which was right next door.

We sat at the bar upstairs which of course is because we didn’t make reservations, but they have some space downstairs with open air seating, perfect for people watching. Giuseppe our fearless bartender was great; making some recommendations and answering all of our questions.  I ended up ordering the Nauti Mule which I would recommend if you love ginger as I do. Besides, I’m a sucker for those copper mugs. W got the H Word which neither of us really liked but it was hard to turn down a drink that comes a blaze. W got a burger

which I think was a special for that day. It came with a really nice sauce kinda that reminded me of wasabi. I dined on the Beef Tongue Ravioli. I never had beef tongue but it was pretty surprised at how smooth it was inside the ravioli which was perfectly. I thought the two types of sauces were a little much I ended up scraping much off it off to get to the part I wanted to really taste (the beef tongue). Each sauce was good individually though so I can’t complain. They do have a pot de creme on the menu that I’d like to go back for and try. I love dessert and W’s favorite place to get pot de creme is at Meat and Potatoes so obviously we should do a taste test to compare.

Thinking back to that ginger cream from Hammond’s